2012 School Census Report

Lunch participation continues to oupace breakfast counts.

FoodService Director’s 2011 School District Census is a snapshot of the K-12 school market, based on information from the 2010-2011 school year, supplied by 50 large, medium and small districts.

Census Highlights

  •  Of the 50 schools in our survey, 48 operate their own foodservice programs, and two contract out the service. The average size of a district in our survey is 85 schools and 47,227 students.

 Buying Locally

  • Food cost for lunch, including commodities, averaged $1.62 among the surveyed schools, equal to last year’s figure. Similarly, the average food cost for breakfast remained at 89 cents. However, schools spent an average of 55 cents on after-school snacks, up from 47 cents last year.

 Money

  • On average, 55% of the students attending the schools in the census qualify for either free or reduced-price meals.

 What schools offer

  • 38% of the districts in the census—10 percentage points lower than those in last year’s census—said they operate a summer feeding program, and the number of meals served in the average district was only 5,511, roughly one-third of last year’s figure.
  •  80% of the districts surveyed say they offer vending, but in only 38% of those schools does the foodservice department have full or partial control over vending.

 Participation

  • Of the districts offering breakfast, only 28% offer breakfast in the classroom to elementary students, 7% to middle school students and 7% to high school students. Among those respondents, on average 15% of the breakfasts served to elementary students, 5% to middle school students and 5% to high school students are eaten in a classroom.

 Breaking down the dayparts

  • 86% of districts surveyed say they offer students a cashless payment option. In those districts, an average of 59% of meals are purchased using this option.
Download: 
PDF icon 2012-School-Census-Report.pdf

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources